The Minister in Colombia (Caffery) to the Secretary of State

No. 1863

Sir: Referring to previous reports concerning the work being done here by Mr. George Rublee, and with special reference in that connection to my despatch No. 1845 of October 31, I have the honor to report that Mr. Rublee has made an excellent impression here: the Colombians he has met find him “simpatico”.

He has been continuing his studies of the oil bill: he has had a number of informal conversations with Mr. Metzger of the Tropical Oil Company, as well as almost daily conferences with Dr. Latorre, the consulting attorney of the Office of the Secretary General of the Presidency; also, he sees President Olaya daily at four o’clock. Metzger and Latorre have prepared for him, at his request, a number of memoranda on various articles of the bill.

Yesterday he received visits from the representatives of all the American oil companies interested in the bill; requested them to state their objections to the bill; and asked them to furnish him with memoranda on all matters in that connection they considered important.

He now believes that there are only two matters left which may cause difficulty: the first is that of the system of parallel zones (my despatch No. 1845 of October 31) and the other is the matter of compulsory production (see Article 20 of enclosures No. 1 and No. 29 to my despatch No. 1655 of September 23). He wants me to insist with President Olaya on the importance of amending the bill in regard to those two questions. I suggested to him last night that he should put his opinion on the articles concerned, in writing, setting out, as I had suggested before (my despatch No. 1845 of October 31: in regard to the zone system) that it was for the Colombian Government to decide what they wanted: if they wanted development, the parallel zone system was not in order; if they wanted [Page 9] reservations, it was. I said, when he had done that, I could take up those questions with President Olaya.

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Respectfully yours,

Jefferson Caffery
  1. See footnote 5, p. 3.